In its 50th anniversary year, Renishaw, a world-leading manufacturer of metrology systems, demonstrates how applying its innovative Equator gauging technology helps to optimise manufacturing, enabling more sustainable processes in the design and production of parts.
The Equator gauging system, with its the unique design and method of operation, has made it the gauge of choice for production engineers across the globe.
Equator Gauging Explained
Equator systems deliver high-speed comparative gauging for the inspection of medium to high-volume manufactured parts in key applications across multiple industries, for example transmission components for automotive and landing gear for aerospace.
It is a fast, highly repeatable, and versatile gauge designed for shopfloor use.
Ben Spokes, Renishaw Business Development Manager for Equator gauging, explains: “The largest market for Equator gauging systems is automotive, with hundreds of Equator systems in use globally for electric vehicle part inspection. These are often used with fully automated loading and direct intelligent process control, that can improve the quality of manufactured parts, and significantly reduce or even eliminate scrap.”
Sustainability Through Automation
Equator gauging systems play an integral part in supporting manufacturers’ drive to develop their own smarter processes and embrace factory automation.
The Equator system can operate at a temperature range of 5 – 50°C and up to 80% humidity and has been optimised for part loading via a robot or shuttle system. Configured for easy communication between the system and a variety of automated work cell equipment, integration into an automated cell is simplified. The result is significantly reduced cycle times, improved productivity and increased throughput.
Introducing flexible gauging close to the point of manufacture also allows the validation of discrete machining operations, enabling automated process control and tool offset management. This leads to increased confidence in final part quality.
Future Proof Manufacturing Process With Improved Process Control
Process control is significantly improved with the move from sample inspection to 100% inspection, whilst the Equator system’s Process Monitor function displays real-time gauging data bar graphs and charts, allowing for process corrections and scrap prevention.
Renishaw’s Intelligent Process Control software (IPC) can record actionable data and provide automated real-time solutions, applying offset updates for common causes of instability such as tool wear and thermal drift.
An example of the effectiveness of the Equator gauge’s level of automation led Olympus NDT, Canada, (who installed a system as part of a completely autonomous manufacturing cell) to conclude:
“Since we can now run the machine (tool) during the night and over the weekends, we have increased our machine capacity by almost 30%. We have reduced machine downtime, reduced the cost of scrap parts and improved the quality of parts produced.”
Equator gauging systems have been designed to cope with a wide range of parts and design changes, and the system’s automatic stylus changing rack enables the inspection of multiple parts in quick succession. It is a proven example of how manufacturers are future-proofing their business activities with an efficient and cost-effective solution to part gauging.
Equator gauging systems are optimised for enhanced machine connectivity. Automation software and hardware have been developed to improve integration in automated cells.
The REN-IO interface unit, coupled with the EZ-IO automation software, allows the Equator gauge to connect to a variety of external equipment in an automated cell with up to 32 digital IO connections. EZ-IO software simplifies the setup of automated manufacturing cells to configure communications between Equator systems and the cell controller.
For more information: www.renishaw.com